for this game

Ohio State loses Wells, routs Youngstown State

Aug 30, 2008 - 10:04 PM By Dave Holstein PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Ohio State won its season opener in remarkably easy fashion. But the Buckeyes may have lost running back Chris "Beanie" Wells.

Wells rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown but suffered a right foot injury in the third quarter as third-ranked Ohio State blanked Youngstown State, 43-0, on Saturday.

A Heisman Trophy candidate, Wells scored on a 43-yard run less than three minutes into the game. Ryan Pretorius kicked four field goals as Ohio State (1-0) scored on its first five possessions.

"It was a good day for us," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "I thought our guys came out and they were business-like as to what they wanted to do. The issue wasn't Youngstown State, it was what Ohio State can do to execute, to get better."

However, the victory was tainted when Wells was carted off the field after a late third-quarter fumble near the goal line. After crumpling to the ground without even being hit, Wells writhed on the ground in pain before being tended to by Tressel and several members of the medical staff.

"You feel for anyone that goes down, especially when it looks like a leg injury," Tressel said. "At first you think, 'Is it a knee,' and then, 'Is it an ankle?'"

Wells underwent X-rays, which came back negative. The junior returned to Ohio State's sideline in the fourth quarter, but he was clearly favoring his right leg.

"From what I gather, without getting medical into it, it's more of a foot thing, and X-rays were negative," said Tressel, who did not know whether Wells would play next week against Ohio. "But absolutely, your heart jumps."

On the opening drive, Wells carried the ball four times, gaining 55 yards. In last year's season-opening 38-6 victory over Youngstown State, Wells finished with just 46 yards on 16 carries.

Pretorius kicked field goals of 28, 31, 26 and 50 yards.

"I think Ryan Pretorius was solid," Tressel said. "It starts with the snap and the excellent protection, but I thought his mechanics were right on."

"I thought I hit the ball really well," Pretorius added. "I think the best ball I hit was the 50-yarder. This early in the season, I am just grateful to have the opportunity to kick four field goals."

Todd Boeckman passed for 187 yards and two touchdowns while freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor completed all 4-of-6 attempts and also ran for 52 yards and a TD for the Buckeyes.

The country's highest-touted incoming freshman, Pryor entered the game on Ohio State's third possession and completed a 9-yarder to Lamaar Thomas on his first play.

"I dreamed about what today would be," Pryor said. "I was a little nervous about everyone judging me but once I got out there, I just wanted to have fun. It was great to get out there and finally get time under my belt."

"(Pryor) was nervous," Tressel said. "So what we tried to do was get him hit real fast, and then he could just go do what he can do. I thought he did a good job. Terrelle is obviously a guy that can do some great things."

Pryor orchestrated a pair of scoring drives, including a six-play, 68-yard march capped by his first career TD, an 18-yard scamper.

It was the first game since Ohio State reworked the contract of Tressel, who agreed to a deal Friday that will make him the Big Ten Conference's highest-paid coach at $3.5 million per year.

Youngstown State (0-1) managed just 74 yards of total offense and converted 1-of-10 third downs. Penguins quarterback Todd Rowan completed 8-of-13 attempts for just 46 yards.

"Our team was humbled today," Youngstown State coach Jon Heacock said. "However, we will go back home and get right back to work.

"The nice thing about football is you get to try it again next week. We'll survive this loss and start to focus on our first conference game against South Dakota."